Skip recently posted about new efforts to have unit survey plats filed of record. This effort, currently working its way through the Legislature, addresses the issue of long-term shut-in wells which have not produced in significant amounts of time and the means to expedite P&A activities.
(Apologies everyone for the prior link snafu.)
Thanks, Dion. Is it possible that we are seeing more wide spread interest in compelling common sense compliance from the industry?
It is possible - the public appears to have asserted itself such that DNR and other legislators have begun to take notice of certain longstanding issues. Backlog on orphan wells is still a problem which will likely have to wait until a collection mechanism is put into place to facilitate the work necessary and to eliminate some of the more problematic wells and fields.
The other issue is that in areas where lease wells are located, there is no current mechanism requiring the P&A of wells, as contractually all such wells are connected to the lease - literally any well can be brought back online at any time as long as one well continues to operate. The legislation appears to attempt to redress such issues - but the state will likely to continue to be loathe to enforce regulations where such may be in conflict with the law between the parties and/or anything that may impede lessee / operator's rights under the lease.
Plugging orphaned wells will continue to be a challenge for the reasons Dion mentioned. But I think the proposed legislation can make some progress on that front. If an operator has listed a well's status as "Shut in-future utility" for 10 years without doing anything with the well, I think it's only reasonable to require the operator to demonstrate that the well does in fact have some "future utility," or else plug and abandon it.
Legislative update: SB 377 has cleared the Senate by 32-0 (7 absent) and is currently in committee in the House. The bill was recently deferred but should be picked up on committee docket next week, per source.
Thanks, Dion. Which house committee will consider the bill? I would encourage GHS members to communicate their support of the legislation to their local representative and the committee members. I can ensure them that the industry will be lobbying against this bill.
Skip - Natural Resources and Environment.
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Wow Jay... pass the salt! Lol...